Infectious Disease Management in Animal Shelters


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Infectious Disease Management in Animal Shelters

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Top 5 Strategies for Managing Shelter Infectious Disease Outbreaks | Clinician's Brief

Description Reviews 3 Infectious Disease Management in Animal Shelters is a comprehensive guide to preventing, managing, and treating disease outbreaks in shelters. Lila Miller, ed. Kate F. Pregnant cats should never receive a live FPV vaccine. Passive immunisation with FPV antiserum or anti-CPV-2 canine globulin may be considered in these cases, where available.

New owners should be informed about the pet's vaccination history and when the next booster will be due. Hygiene is the most important aspect of infectious disease prevention. In addition, chronic or recurrent stress should be minimised to keep animals and people healthy. If possible, interactions should only be allowed between cats originating from the same household.

Care workers should not wear street clothes in the facility. In the quarantine and isolation areas, protective clothing overalls, aprons, gloves, footwear or boots should always be used and changed preferably disposable or at least disinfected between cats. Clothing should never be taken outside the respective area.

If overshoes are not used, footbaths should be available. However, poorly maintained footbaths may contribute to the distribution of pathogens - they must be cleaned and changed at intervals that ensure that the disinfectant is always working. Disposable footwear is always preferable.

Each area should be equipped with its own set of food and water bowls, litter trays, bedding, cleaning equipment, rubber gloves, footbaths, overshoes etc. Access to quarantine and isolation areas should be restricted rigorously. A disinfectant hand wash should be used between handling individual cats, before and after breaks, and by all visitors.

Metrics as a Tool for Managing Infectious Disease in the Shelter - Part 2

All cages and pens should be cleaned daily. A routine should be established whereby susceptible 'clean' animals should be fed first and their litter trays changed first. The person tending the cats should not go back to the susceptible cats after dealing with those who are sick. Each cat should be provided with two sets of litter trays and bowls, so that while one is being cleaned and disinfected, the cat may use the other.

Larger shelters will have separate attendants for healthy kittens, adult cats and sick cats. The most hygienic shelters will provide separate overalls, overshoes, boots or a foot bath, and rubber gloves for staff to wear when attending each individual pen. Pens and cages should be thoroughly cleaned with detergent to remove organic matter before disinfection. For disinfection especially between cats inhabiting pens , an appropriate efficacy-tested disinfectant should be used.

As in shelters non-enveloped viruses such as FPV and FCV are of particular concern, only disinfectants that are efficacy-tested against these viruses should be used. Common disinfectants known to inactivate non-enveloped viruses are, among others, based on aldehydes, peracetic acid, monopersulphate potassium peroxymonosulphate , or hypochlorite. As alcohols and quaternary ammonium compounds do not inactivate parvoviruses they should not be used as a sole measure.

Infectious Disease Management in Animal Shelters

It is important to observe the correct dilution and recommended contact time. Where coccidial infections can occur, premises should be regularly steam cleaned, and disinfectants specifically tested against coccidia should be used in addition to the regular disinfectants.


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Pens should be left empty for as long as possible between occupants. On a daily basis, food and water bowls as well as litter trays must be cleaned thoroughly. Litter trays and dishes must not be cleaned at the same time in the same sink. Non-tracking cat litter is preferable, in order to reduce the spread of e. Bedding and soft materials are either disposed of or cleaned of organic material, soaked in disinfectant and then washed in a washing machine at as high a temperature as possible. Furniture, toys and scratch-posts should be removed or cleaned and disinfected if possible.

Information about transmission and shedding of viruses is provided in Table 1, of other infectious diseases in Table 2. Vaccination may be considered. Stress reduction is important for overall health especially in a shelter environment. It serves e. Even minor changes, such as moving from one cage to another or being placed in a carrier, can be stressful for cats. A feline stress-scoring system has been proposed Beata et al. Arhant et al. They found that increased proportions of very thin cats correlated with a higher proportion of pens with less than one lying area per cat and with a lower proportion of pens with hiding places for all cats.

Poor coat condition correlated with longer mean length of stay in the shelter. Stress is reduced above all by maintaining low animal densities. In animal shelters, cats housed at high densities or in large groups display more signs of stress than singly-housed cats. When keeping cats in groups, attention should be paid to social compatibility. Providing environmental enrichment like beddings, scratch posts, toys and hiding areas plays an important role for stress reduction. Newly sheltered cats provided with a hiding box during quarantine had significantly lower stress levels compared to cats without this enrichment Vinke et al.

Animal handling, such as stroking anxious cats, may have positive effects, as suggested by an increase of S-IgA and reduction of upper respiratory tract disease Gourkow et al. Offering possibilities for hiding, playing and watching outside activities is important for stress reduction and general well-being Fig 4. What is relaxing to one cat may be stressful to another, depending on prior experience, genetics, and individual temperament Hurley, Synthetic pheromones have been used in shelters with the objective to reduce stress. They are predicted to alter the emotional state of the cat via the limbic system and the hypothalamus and have been recommended for the prevention of anxiety-related behaviours, such as house-soiling Carney et al.

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All records should be backed up regularly. Written protocols are vital communication and education tools for shelter staff, volunteers, adopters, and foster families. They can encompass all aspects of infectious disease prevention, population management, and care of affected animals and should be individualized for each shelter population, its architecture and resources, and the outbreak infection.

After each protocol has been created, quality-control officers can be appointed to enforce the protocols. However, the protocol should be updated regularly to best meet shelter needs. In addition, the shelter should communicate with local, recent adopters, foster families, shelters, rescues, and veterinary hospitals to update them on the status of the outbreak and seek their cooperation to limit shelter intake if possible. Openness and transparency can build confidence and credibility and facilitate assistance by local community stakeholders. Advance planning through vaccination, protocol development, foster networks, and local shelter partnerships is required to minimize the risk for infectious disease outbreaks in shelters.

If an outbreak occurs, prompt and accurate pathogen identification, stratification of the shelter population by risk category, and avoidance of crowding can help limit disease transmission and reduce outbreak duration.

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References and Author Information. Author Information. For global readers, a calculator to convert laboratory values, dosages, and other measurements to SI units can be found here. Material from Clinician's Brief may not be reproduced, distributed, or used in whole or in part without prior permission of Educational Concepts, LLC. For questions or inquiries please contact us. Create Account. All Content. No results found. Litster is currently affiliated with Zoetis. Infectious Disease December Peer Reviewed. Sign In.


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    References and Author Information show hide. References Griffin JF. Stress and immunity: a unifying concept. Vet Immunol Immunopathol. ASPCA shelter disinfectant quick reference. Accessed July 15, Hurley KF. Outbreak management.

    Infectious Disease Management in Animal Shelters Infectious Disease Management in Animal Shelters
    Infectious Disease Management in Animal Shelters Infectious Disease Management in Animal Shelters
    Infectious Disease Management in Animal Shelters Infectious Disease Management in Animal Shelters
    Infectious Disease Management in Animal Shelters Infectious Disease Management in Animal Shelters
    Infectious Disease Management in Animal Shelters Infectious Disease Management in Animal Shelters

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